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School Board Meets District’s New Hires; Farewell to Graduating Student Liaison

Photo by Crystal Hayduk. (Left to right) Matt Cunningham, Chelsea High School’s new athletic director and assistant principal and Casey Wescott, North Creek Elementary School’s new principal. Both positions begin July 1.

By Crystal Hayduk

The Chelsea School District Board of Education met the district’s latest hires at its meeting on May 22.    

Nick Angel, Chelsea High School (CHS) principal, introduced Matt Cunningham, the new assistant principal and athletic director (AD) at CHS. He will assume the position on July 1 from Wayne Welton, who held it in the interim after Brad Bush’s resignation last January.  

Angel said this was, in his experience, the “deepest pool” of candidates to draw from during the rigorous hiring process.  

Cunningham is currently the AD at St. Xavier University in Chicago. Previously, he was the assistant AD at University of Michigan-Dearborn, where he also coached baseball.

A 2003 CHS graduate, he earned degrees in education, sports administration, and law from Wayne State University. “It’s been a nice coming-home journey for Matt,” said Angel.

Superintendent Mike Kapolka introduced Casey Wescott, who will be principal of North Creek Elementary School on July 1 following Kimberly Gillow’s retirement.

Wescott has been a principal and assistant principal in the Rochester Community School District for the last 10 years. He earned his bachelor’s degree in social studies and history with a teaching certificate from Western Michigan University, a master’s degree in teaching from Marygrove College, and a specialist degree in educational leadership and K-12 certification from Oakland University. He is a 1997 CHS graduate.

Kapolka quoted a few of Wescott’s references: “He pushes me every day to be a better educator”; “He created a true community [at our school]”; “His professional growth over the last five years has been astronomical”; and “He’s authentic, genuine, a true leader, he loves people and cares about them.”  

Cunningham and Wescott “… epitomize everything that’s right about our school district,” said Welton. “They were leaders when they were here, athletically and in the classroom. They’ve gone on to do amazing things in their education and careers. We’re proud to bring them home and say they were the best of the best in the candidate pool.”

Photo by Crystal Hayduk. Dawn Welt, the new health sciences teacher for the South and West Washtenaw Consortium. Welt will split each day between the Chelsea and Saline locations.

Angel introduced Dawn Welt, who will be the health sciences teacher for the South and West Washtenaw Consortium following Arlene Kofahl’s retirement. He said Welt, who is one of the few individuals in the state possessing the required certifications and licensures, has had the burden of a year-long interview process.

Welt’s “wealth of work experience” includes teaching at Washtenaw Community College (WCC) and holding traditional nursing positions. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Eastern Michigan University and EMT certification from WCC.

Kapolka thanked Logan Dever for his service as student liaison to the board, at the last meeting before graduation. Kapolka said Dever is an example of someone who exhibits integrity, global and cultural consciousness, and is an advocate.

Photo by Crystal Hayduk. Logan Dever, Class of 2023, who has served as a student liaison to the school board for two years, displays the district’s gift of art done by high school photography students. At right is Glenn Fox, board of education trustee.

The board presented Dever, who will attend Michigan Technological University in the fall, with an Amazon gift card and framed artwork by CHS photography students.

May Elementary School Students of the Month (North Creek student Gabriela Budd and South Meadows student Elle Rhodes) were introduced. (Related story will be published soon.)

During his superintendent’s report, Kapolka said the CHS girls water polo team will be going to the state finals for the first time in Chelsea history.

Kapolka thanked his administrators for their work, especially with a turnover of nearly half of the team since he took over as superintendent last summer.   

A videorecording of the meeting will be available to view for one month here.

Board Approvals:

The board approved school building handbooks and the Athletic Code of Conduct.

With Kapolka’s recommendation, district administrators’ contracts were renewed for the 2023-24 school year.

The board approved new laptop and desktop computers for staff and students at CHS and the WSEC 500 building.  These devices will be purchased from the REMC SPOT statewide contract bid. InaComp Technical Services will provide the HP devices and Apple will provide the Macs. Both companies won the vendor contract from the state. The cost will be $129,045.40, paid for as part of the 2019 technology bond replacement cycle.

The board approved the first amendment of the 2022-23 Special Revenue and Debt Fund Budget.

The Memo of Understanding with Washtenaw Intermediate School District (WISD) for the My Future Program was approved. (Related story here.)

The board accepted the Rotary Club’s donation of $1,000 to assist students at all buildings who have carried a lunch debt this school year.

The board approved the 2023-24 WISD budget resolution and designated trustee Jason Eyster (Kate Henson as alternate) as the CSD electoral representatives for WISD’s biennial election on June 5.

Upcoming dates:

CHS graduation will be at 2 p.m. on June 4 at Jerry Niehaus Stadium. (The stadium is reserved for two potential alternate times in the event of inclement weather: 7 p.m. on June 4 and 6 p.m. on June 5.)

The next school board meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on June 12 in the board room at the Washington Street Education Center. 

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